rob walker

robwalker(by MartinChristmas)

rob walker found his interest in poetry reawakened when he was in his 40s. He began publishing work on fledgling internet sites before joining Friendly Street around 2003. His first collection sparrow in an airport was published as part of Friendly Street’s New Poets Ten (2005), followed by micromacro (Seaview Press, 2006) and phobiaphobia (Picaro Press, 2007.) With Louise Nicholas he edited Friendly Street THIRTY in 2006. He collaborated with his sons Matt and Ben to win the 2007 & 2009 Newcastle Poetry Prize (New Media.)

Having always been fascinated by language in its many forms, between his time as an educator in Performing Arts around Adelaide and teaching English to highschool students and adults in Japan, rob has also found time to write a children’s musical, essays, short stories, poetry reviews, co-edit a poetry anthology and produce five poetry books. With hundreds of poems being published online and in journals and anthologies in the UK, US (including 4&20, The Cortland Review, Illya’s Honey, Poetry Magazine and Red River Review) and Australia (including Best Australian Poems, Australian Poetry Journal, Verity La, foam:e, Quadrant, Transnational Literature, Rabbit Journal, Cordite, Mascara, blue pepper, 21D and Unusual Work), rob also enjoys collaborating with other artists (eg Max- Mo, Zephyr Quartet and His latest poetry collections include tropeland (Five Islands Press), Policies & Procedures (Garron Press) and Original Cliches (Ginninderra Press).

When he’s not writing rob enjoys playing the shakuhachi and guitar, listening to jazz, producing (and drinking) his own cabernet sauvignon and playing with his grandchildren (not necessarily in that order.)


a year later taking eucalypt

honey from neglected hives.

open the lid a slit.

puff the smoke.

convent’s drone rises a semitone.

then the lid comes away

nurses blinded

by Divine Light.

a musty fustiness reaching

nostrils and i am back

in tufa tunnels at san sebastiano.

bees withdraw to their own

tunnels, body-sized cavities

mystical waxy structures

exuded from their flesh

sculpted by their own mouths

hexagonstrong      smooth-cylindered

meted out with wingspan precision

unseen micrometers of architects   engineers

and as I carefully inspect

shake off each frame      my mind is

buzzing with vespas,  fiat bambini,

smartcars droning on basalt cobbles

on the Via Appia Antica

of a warm spring day

and we withdraw to cool

tunnels of Death on the other

side of the styx amongst

mortal remains of

christians and jews

united/interred in death

outside the ancient Aurelian city

walls passed on the 218 bus

from piazza san giovanni in

laterano       guided unerringly

through labyrinths like Theseus

this contemporary Ariadne’s thread

a masterplan knowledge

of Fixed Action Patterns

inside her head,

a dance of bees.

later spinning frames

in the laundry i watch close as a

lone hatching bee chews the seal

off its own mausoleum emerging

to a world of light devoid

of her congregation of sisters

wondering perhaps         am i

in Purgatorio                  Inferno   or       Paradiso?


From micromacro, Seaview Press, 2006

as he wakes

the baboushkas reassemble themselves. a frightened little boy at the core climbs

into the teenager with the painted-on angry face and permanent hard-on.

crawling into the ideals of some young teacher. each clothes himself

in another bodycasing, chrysalis reversed, until the final,

an ordinary middleaged man blinks,

wondering which if any

of the selves within

is him

From phobiaphobia, Picaro Press, 2007

V. Norfolk Island Pine

Araucaria heterophylla
in the Pacific your point of origin
a speck of pollen

but a diaspora delivered you
to every beach resort

your trunk adolescent slim-muscled,
smoothskinned with occasional
acne and zits

your substitute leaves
of baby claws,
stockwhips for the kiddies.

there’s surfwax oozing from your pores
yet the swell keeps slipping away
from your toes

You reach for the sky
you organic pyramid
and I’ll sit in your shade licking
a pine-lime Splice, our backs together, staring out towards the horizon.

from the suite ‘Araucarias of Gondwana. Tree dinosaurs.’
in tropeland, Five Islands Press, 2015